I’ve been in the Windows Media Center game from the very beginning, aside from a brief run-around with the MythTV project. Over the years I have struggled to come up with a solution that got me all of the way to a wife acceptance factor of, well, acceptable. This has lead me to have a really expensive Media Center setup in about 5 complete hardware/software revisions over the years. With the very best I still, in some measure of defeat, have maintained a set top cable DVR. Sad, really sad.
Early last year, I made the leap and got on the pre-order list for the Ceton InfiniTV 4 – a rumored, mythical, 4 tuner cable card solution with promise. I threw my $400 on the table and began the wait. At the most, I could expect an over promised, under delivered piece of junk that I could sell on eBay for 25% of it’s purchase price like so many other failed tech solutions, right?
When it finally arrived, 7 months later, the hype in the forums were at a real frenzy, with people getting $800 for the card. People were saying that this thing just worked. I had such high hopes. A tear came to my eye imagining my wife looking at me with pride, finally achieving my Media Center dream. All those grand undelivered promises forgiven. A restored sense of tech God balance, a platform for future gadget endeavors to spring forth, media related and otherwise.
Ready for defeat, I installed the card, and prepared to battle Comcast, something I had done before having been on the ATI Digital Cable Tuner bandwagon. After hours and hours of phone support where I begged them pitifully, like a scene from Midnight Express, to understand that they did not need to come to my house (I already had the CableCard) I convinced the right person to touch the right button. And then I finished the Windows Media Center 7 setup.
From that moment, until now, the experience really has been a wonder – in light of all of my past failures. The Ceton card works like a champ. I have never lost a recorded program, seen it stutter, crash, stall, hang, or otherwise make my wife laugh at me. I have finally found a solution that gives me the power to do what I have promised several times in the past: take the DVR back to Comcast. It’s been 3 months. The InfiniTV has never failed. Never. I still have that damn DVR, but I swear, after a bit more testing I’m really going to take it back.